SODEXO Australia has been named preferred operator by the government for the new Women’s Remand and Reintegration Facility at Hakea Prison in Canning Vale.
The then Acting Corrective Services Minister Albert Jacob said the State was now entering negotiations with Sodexo, which are expected to be completed late next month.
WA Prison Officers’ Union (WAPOU) secretary John Welch said they were disappointed with the decision to name a private sector provider over the public sector to run the 256-bed facility.
Mr Jacob said Sodexo had 20 years of experience in the justice system in the United Kingdom, where it managed five prisons with more than 5000 prisoners, 800 of whom are women.
But Mr Welch said it was a slap in the face for all those staff who have done outstanding work to manage the problem of overcrowding.
“The $24.3 million dollar women’s prison is due to open in December 2016,” he said.
“However, the union is sceptical it would open on time. “Bandyup Women’s Prison is well over its design capacity, and is managing extraordinary levels of overcrowding.”
“In our view, if the government brings in a new private provider, it will slow down the entire process of opening the new prison, which means the situation at Bandyup will not improve any time soon.”
“If negotiations between the State and Sodexo are unsuccessful, the facility will be operated by the Department of Corrective Services.”